I was thinking about what got me started on my article-writing frenzy. I did, of course, work in Mental Health for six years and developed some insights into how self-esteem affects a person’s life and wanted to share and develop those concepts. While that was a while ago, I have always maintained my interest and fascination in human behavior and it finally built up to where I felt I needed to revisit it. Meanwhile, I realized today that there is more to it.
Did you ever have that kind of—what is the buzz word now?—epiphany? This is when you’re struggling or ruminating with some concept or experience, or trying to find meaning and all of a sudden all of those thought-processes and emotions just burst into your conscious mind and implode into one realization? Awesome, but here’s what happened to me—LOL, just kidding. Seriously, I realized something today. I submit this for your approval: It seems that low self-esteem is responsible for all sorts of mistaken ideas. Well, of course, I’d been saying that all along. However, it seems that because a lot of us have low self-esteem, we don’t value our feelings and opinions a whole lot and thus put ourselves at the mercy of society as a whole. The problem is that society as a whole has low self-esteem and therefore allows themselves to be led by people who they see as stronger, more vital, smarter and powerful and take charge. The rest of us assume they know something (or else what would make them take charge). These people spew whatever, and because they seem so self-assured, we wrongly assume that they’re right. Well, one of the things I’ve learned in my life is that (most of the time, anyway) if the majority believes it’s right, then it’s wrong.
Case in point: one of those prolific news programs late last week did yet another segment on bullying. Of course there was the tragedy of a pretty high school student who killed herself rather than put up with the bullying. Then there were other cases of kids in different locations who were being bullied and dealing with it in different ways. Some middle school kids were putting on plays to educate the school, parents were talking to the state legislature, and another parent was going all activist on the computer.
They still don’t get it! This is the reason that I get all controversial and in your face, because that’s what it takes to get people to see the Truth, and yes, that’s Truth with a capital “T”. OK, you arrogant and egotistical ____ (fill in the blank) you are saying to me, what do you think the Truth is? Simple. The problem is that when kids get bullied, they start to feel like they are bad people and they’re being bullied because they deserve it. The families feel guilty like it’s their fault. They all develop a victim mentality. I’m being attacked because I’m no good. This affects their self-esteem. Without feeling like they have any worth, what do they do? They try (intentional word here) to ask other, more powerful people for help, like the school administrators, politicians and police. There are still problems and these shows always tend to end with a lot of unfinished business, like how laws are being considered, school and police officials won’t talk on camera, etc.
We could end bullying forever in a week. The reason we don’t is that these people don’t think for themselves or take action and just go along with the flow, which is that they’re being bullied because they’re no good. What they don’t do is take a step back and look logically at the situation. I understand that they are so filled with emotions that it’s really hard to think straight. But this is where the words “Don’t Panic” become really important.
Here’s where logic comes into play. These kids need to be lauded and looked up to. That’s right, these kids have the most integrity and character of anyone you’ll ever meet. How so? Again, simple. These kids are living in a war zone, attacked every day, and yet some of them still go to school, a lot of them get at least fairly decent grades, some of them are even still doing activities. This takes courage, integrity, character and bravery. Of course these are young kids and often crumble under the pressure and change schools or move or yes, sometimes kill themselves. Still, consider how long they deal with it. This is something that doesn’t ever seem to get mentioned, or if it does, it’s just glossed over. What if one these reporters were to look at the kid, while the camera is rolling and say directly to them, “You know, you are quite something to go through this and still be able to smile. You are one brave, exceptional person!” I don’t know, maybe it wouldn’t be good for the ratings.
The bullies are the one who are the cowards. They are the ones who find a victim who is smaller and weaker. And consider that there is never just one bully, that’s it’s a crowd of often 4 or 5 at least, and then they bring in others. No character or integrity there, right? And what would happen if someone got a camera and went up to one of these kids and asked, “Hey, why don’t you pick on just one person who’s your own size?” Wouldn’t you love to see that? But, you don’t. Like I’ve been saying, it’s an upside-down world.
But no one confronts them! No one puts them in their place! Instead, they put on plays, try to develop some anti-bullying curricula. Does anyone really and truly believe that a bully is going to see all this and go “Yeah, I guess I should change my behavior”? Kids around Lake Elsinore tell me there are anti-bullying programs in school. My guess is that they’re useless.
All right, so let’s stop bullying. Here’s how: We don’t need any new laws. If nothing else, these kids are assaulting the victims, and “assault”, I learned in Mental Health school, is any perceived threat, and assault is a criminal act. These kids need to carry around video recorders to record the interactions. They should scan the area in which they are being assaulted and note any other kids who are observing the incident. Then the parents go to the police and demand the kids be charged for any assault—or battery if anybody actually makes contact with them—and use the kids who observed the incident as witnesses. Now, this is a criminal act so if it goes to trial, these kids get subpoenaed and have to go testify. You think their parents are going to want that? How are these parents going to react when in the evening, they’re home from a tough day at work, they want to relax, and some plainclothes detective shows up telling them they have to talk to the kid about an assault in school. What? Assault at the school that my kids attend? Police involved? Can’t wait for the next PTA meeting. Better than reality TV.
So now the perpetrators themselves are being visited by police in their homes. How do you think their parents are going to react to their kids being charged with assault? And that’s not even considering a civil suit. That’s right, disrupt their lives.
And what about the school itself? There is a law, another thing we learned in Mental Health school, called “loco parentis”. This means that when your minor child walks into school, the school is now the parent and is responsible for the kid. Lawsuit. If every parent of every kid took their schools to court, it would make a statement. What principal wants to testify in a lawsuit for their school for negligence?
What’s going to happen when a supposedly normal functioning school is interrupted at every turn by criminal accusations and lawsuits? What school administrator is going to want to have to deal with this? What parent is going to want to have to go down with their kid to the local police station to answer questions instead of enjoying their evening? If nothing else, how are the local police going to feel about being confronted by every parent of every kid anytime that kid is bullied and have to go out and investigate? How are the school administrators going to feel about being confronted with criminal accusations and lawsuits every time a kid is confronted? If nothing else, how about getting the ACLU involved to sue for interfering with civil rights?
Even if nothing else comes out of any of this, think of the publicity. This is how you stop bullying. You see, here’s the problem, and it’s caused by low self-esteem brought on by victimization: they don’t realize there are two sides. Since it’s football season, I’ll use a football analogy. The game starts after a coin toss to see who gets the ball first. That team has four tries (unless of course they advance ten yards to get another four tries) to get a touchdown. If they don’t, guess what happens? That’s right, the other team gets the ball. The other team, the victims, are refusing the ball! They’re letting the bullies have all the “ups”. Get the ball and take your turn. Hit these people where they live—literally. Money and time, two things that make people sit up and listen. If every victim of bullying were to do all this, to decide that they’re not going to take it—and I’m not naïve, I realize a certain amount of empowerment is needed—and just started demanding action and using the laws and legal procedures that are already there, bullying would end because no one, whoever they are, is going to want to have to go to court and deal with the threat of losing their life savings because their kids are jerks with no character.
This is one very large pre-conceived notion. More to come.